The deterioration of East-West cooperation is the worst possible news for Central Europe, as the states on the borders of the two geopolitical blocs are always the losers when there’s a confrontation, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said on Tuesday at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos.
Speaking at a panel discussion entitled "Deglobalization or reglobalization?", Minister Szijjártó said that it would be in the fundamental national security and economic interests of Hungary and the Central European region as a whole to have pragmatic cooperation between East and West, based on mutual respect and benefits.
He pointed out that this was largely a realistic scenario until the end of 2021, but by the beginning of last year, it had become increasingly clear that there would be a break in the relationship, a development detrimental to the region.
"Confrontation between geopolitical blocs is always bad for those who are geographically located between two blocs," he warned, citing the Cold War as an example. Szijjártó underlined that Eurasian cooperation was a good basis for economic development, but that it had become a "distant dream."
"I think there are three issues that could bring about radical change. The first is whether or not mutual respect will return to international political relations because unfortunately, we have seen a complete lack of mutual respect in recent times. The second is whether everyone understands that ideological or political approaches cannot override physical realities. The third is whether communication channels remain open between those who are reluctant to talk to each other," he said.
On the downsides of globalization, FM Szijjártó said that it had been used by the major powers as a tool to "aggressively disseminate their political narrative" around the world, and in doing so, heavily stigmatize dissent from the international mainstream.
On the U.S.-China conflict, the minister said that there are strong political efforts to decouple the Western economy from China, but the physical reality is that in the private sector, there is no sign of this, and in fact, the opposite is happening.
He cited Hungary as an example, which has become a very important player in the electric car industry as a meeting point for Western and Eastern companies. He pointed out that seven of the world's ten largest electric battery manufacturers are Chinese, and their products are in great demand by Western car brands.